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AIASF Mentorship Program Tour: Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (1.5 LUs)
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 Export to Your Calendar 7/5/2017
When: 7/5/2017
12:45 -2:15 PM
Where: Browning Courthouse
95 Seventh Street
(Corner of Mission and Seventh Street)
San Francisco
United States

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The tour will be led by Thomas Rex Hardy, AIA, LEED AP. One of Tom’s projects in his nearly 40-year career includes assisting with the historic renovation of this courthouse between 1991 and 1996, with Page and Turnbull (historic consultants) and Craig Hartman’s team at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, principal architect. Originally completed in 1905, this is one of the most beautiful buildings in America and one of the best examples of American Renaissance Architecture. Included in the 1996 upgrades was the installation of a total Seismic Base Isolation System (280 isolators). These upgrades were required as a result of the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989. Tom will discuss the history and architecture of this National Landmark courthouse, which has survived two earthquakes (1906 and 1989). The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is the only agency still using this building. The court hears appeals from lower court decisions in the federal courts of nine Western states. This building was the location of San Francisco’s main Post Office from 1905 to 1989, and the courtrooms have been the site of famous cases such as Prop. 8 California Gay Marriage and President Trump’s most recent Immigration Proposal.

Tour Information

  • Visitors should arrive by 12:45 PM to allow time to go through the security process. Bring a photo ID. The group will have a waiting area inside the main lobby and should gather there. Cameras are welcome. Comfortable shoes are suggested, and while the main building is accessible, to those with limited mobility, access to the base isolators in the sub-basement is only by ladder. Those unable to go down the ladder may still participate in the remainder of the building tour.
  • Tour of the Courthouse will begin at 1:00 PM sharp and last approximately 1hr and is limited to a maximum of 25 people.
  • Basement access is via a ship’s ladder to view the base isolators. This will occur, most likely, at the beginning of the tour (approximately 15 min.). Those who are unable to go down the ladder may still participate in the rest of the tour.
  • The space to view the isolators is very narrow and low, so it is mandatory to bring your own construction hard hat if you plan to view these isolators.
  • The guided tour will include historic features, selected courtrooms, chambers, the law library, and typical seismic base isolators and foundation conditions.


Learning Objectives

    • Understand the importance and grandeur of this building and its meaning to the people of the United States and the world.

    • Investigate the seismic base isolation system and understand the projected dynamics and the building’s anticipated response(s) to a seismic event.

    • Study the ornamentation and embellishments and meanings behind their use.

    • Understand the transformation that this building has undertaken to retain its significance and importance.


    Sponsored by Joel Tomei, FAIA